Saturday, October 28, 2017

Handling the rise in air traffic: A multiple-airport theory

New Delhi: The construction of new terminal buildings and additional runways at Indian airports notwithstanding, the need of the hour for the country to be able to sustain the double-digit growth in air passenger traffic without facing infrastructure constraints is to have multiple airports in one city. Airports Authority of India (AAI)’s chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told The Indian Express that the developer is in negotiations with the Gujarat government for moving the Rajkot airport outside the city, and has also written to West Bengal and Tamil Nadu governments for second airports in Kolkata and Chennai, respectively.
“We have to realise that the way aviation sector is growing in India, we need to have two airports in many cities. In fact, to address the capacity constraint issue, this is an area we are looking into. You see, most US big cities have two airports. For India also the time has come. This is another area that we are pursuing on behalf of the ministry,” Mohapatra said. As per data furnished by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India’s domestic air traffic registered a growth of 16.43 per cent in September when airlines flew 9.5 million passengers compared with 8.2 million during the corresponding period last year.
“The current Rajkot airport is spread over only 200 acres of land. It is totally constrained and no more development is possible. There is tremendous demand but airlines find it unprofitable to fly there. There, we are in negotiations with the state government. They have given us 2,400 acres of land 18 km away from the current airport where the new airport will be developed. Similarly, we have written to state governments of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu asking them to look at land for second airports at Kolkata and Chennai. Because beyond a point, no matter how much capacity constraint we address, Chennai and Kolkata will require second airports,” he added.
28/10/17 Pranav Mukul/Indian Express